This seminar brought together key stakeholders to discuss the future of UK agriculture - focusing on key issues around funding, regulation, trade and natural capital - ahead of the publication of the Agriculture Bill due later this year.
Delegates discussed the Government’s plans to reform the payments model by incentivising farmers to deliver ‘public goods’ in order to receive future payments, as outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan. They considered the criteria - such as environmental enhancement, animal welfare, increasing productivity and protecting soil health - proposed in the concluded Health and Harmony consultation.
The seminar was also an opportunity to consider what more might be done to make farming regulation, enforcement and inspections more efficient in England post-Brexit, in light of the Government’s review.
Attendees discussed the delivery of payments to farmers, following the EFRA Committee report into the Rural Payments Agency and concerns highlighted over the timeliness of payments and the strategy moving forward with payments post-Brexit.
Discussion also looked at the challenges for balancing increased productivity and the preservation of the landscape, as the Government looks to introduce the Environmental Principles and Governance Bill in the autumn and key issues emerging from the consultation into the proposed environmental body to maintain environmental standards.
Further sessions examined the future role of devolved nations in decision-making post-Brexit, in light of the report by the Scottish Government Agriculture Champions calling for reform to the current payments system and as the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee launches an inquiry into the impact of Brexit on the agriculture industry in Northern Ireland.
The agenda also included two international case studies on alternative funding system for agriculture and developing trading relationships and maintaining competitiveness.